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These Medela microwave sterilising bags are something I only found out about this time with my second son. I don't think they were around 4 years ago with my first son, but they have proved invaluable already this time around.
The bags come in packs of 5 microwave bags for around £12.50 which does sound expensive till you realise that each bag can be used up to 20 times.
The bags are yellow in design which is Medela's colour of choice as far as branding is concerned. Across each bag are the instructions for use which I personally find handy to remind me what I need to do rather than keeping the box. Equally this use of the instructions on the bag is helpful if you were to use these away on holiday and needed to consult about the length of time to have the bag in the microwave for the power that microwave has. As well as the instructions on the bag there are 20 small boxes for you to mark off each time you use the bag. I personally find this a really helpful feature as there is no way I can remember how many times I have used the bag by memory alone. The bag itself has a seal closing similar to some sandwich bags in that you need to press two seals together. These perform very well and I never have any trouble either sealing the bag and it remaining closed and opening it is the same. To the side of the bag there a steam vent for the steam to come out naturally. You do have to be careful when picking the bag up that you hold it either at the top or at the other side as it is easy to get a burnt via this hole. They recommend tipping the water out via the vent rather than the top to keep the items sterilised and so you don't get burnt. This again is easy to do and I find that the water comes out very well and for the most part all of it comes out. Occasionally some water can get left trapped in the bottom of a bottle but this is rare.
The size of the bag is not huge but does fit very easily a bottle and all the breast pump equipment I use with ease. I also find that there is sufficient room if I am sterilising bottles and teats for there to be two in each bag. If you were using bottles all the time rather than for expressed breast milk you may need to have several bags on the go as two 8 oz bottles really is the limit in a bag.
To use the bag is very simple and easy to do you place the items inside and then add 4 table spoons of water or 60mls I always use a tablespoon to measure as I find this the easiest rather than filling a jug. You then seal the bag and place in the microwave. With the power of my home microwave it takes 3 minutes and then you empty the water out. The items are very hot too touch when they come out but within a few minutes they are cooling down. I actually find that if I use the expressing equipment straight away the fact that the shield is warm actually helps trigger the let-down better and I can express milk easier. If I am not using the items straight away the bag is able to strand up right easily and the items just stay in there ready to take out and use and the sealed bag ensures they remain sterile. I have sued in the bags breast shields nipple shields bottles and teats and by following the instructions they continue to remain in good working order and un like when I use a chemical cold water steriliser they take on no discolouration at all. Medela do caution that if you don't put sufficient water in the bag then items may warp but as I always have the correct amount in the items have never warped and neither has the bag. The other bonus for me about using the bags is how little room they take up in the kitchen compared to a cold water sterilised or steamer. If not in use then they can fold down into a drawer easily and take up very little room in there and are quickly to be ready to take out to use.
Overall these are great sterilising bags they contain easily all you need for expressing breast milk. They can contain up to two bottles so if you are bottle feeding these could work out as expensive. But for the lack of space needed for these coupled with their ease of use they are perfect. At around 312 from Mothercare and Amazon they last me well as I don't use them every day. I would definitely recommend them to other breastfeeding mums who are expressing milk 4 stars from me.